Article Summary: If you are looking to improve your success (e.g., grow your membership, become THE thought leader, or increase brand awareness), the question is not, “are you using LinkedIn?” Rather, the question is “are you using LinkedIn effectively?” It can be an even more valuable tool for you with these little known ways. With LinkedIn, you can expand your network both passively (e.g., through a compelling profile and receiving invitations) and actively (e.g., writing articles, posting great content, and sending targeted invitations). The power of LinkedIn lay within its network—how people find you, not the other way around. There are over 20 tweaks and little known ways of expanding your LinkedIn network. Here are three important ones.
It’s Who Knows You: Three Little Known Ways to Turn LinkedIn into a More Valuable Tool
Copyright © 2009. The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. and ThinkBusiness Magazine
Ira J. Koretsky
If you are looking to improve your success (e.g., grow your membership, become THE thought leader, or increase brand awareness), the question is not, “are you using LinkedIn?” Rather, the question is “are you using LinkedIn effectively?”
The power of LinkedIn lay within its network—how people find you, not the other way around. Your goal is to add connections, people, that make good business sense. Often, the connections from your second- and third-degree connections in your network. It is the power of a valuable referral, now online.
It is just like the 1970s Fabergé shampoo commercial where the spokesperson says: “I told two friends about Fabergé organic shampoo and they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on.” In this case, the shampoo is your profile.
The shampoo is your profile.
With LinkedIn, you can expand your network both passively (e.g., through a compelling profile and receiving invitations) and actively (e.g., writing articles and sending invitations). The power lay within the network—how you find connections and how they find you. There are over 20 tweaks and little known ways of expanding your LinkedIn network. Here are three important ones to make LinkedIn an even more valuable tool in your tool belt.
Standout with a Compelling Professional Headline
The common attribute of the more than 100 million LinkedIn profiles is that the first thing you see is a person’s name. The irony is that to second-degree connections and beyond, your name in and of itself, offers little to no value. Rather, be valuable to your visitor, immediately.
To the untrained eye, current job title and company name come next. In an informal study, I looked at 300 profiles and found that 97% of them listed a title. Something like CEO, CFO, Consultant, Director, Analyst, etc. Instead of looking like everyone else, grab the reader’s attention! Make a first impression that screams, “Read me now!” How? Use the Professional Headline field. The secret here is that LinkedIn populates it with your most current job title and company name. As such, few people change it.
Click the pencil to the right of your personal photograph (i.e., headshot), just under the banner photograph. Find “Headline” immediately following your name. A compelling headline is the foundation of business storytelling. At The Chief Storyteller®, we call it your Better Tomorrow Message TM. Headlines make the complex simple while whetting the mental appetite of the reader. You have 120 characters or about 10 words. Try using your tagline or words pique curiosity. Examples include “Building Business Relationships,” “Online Brand Coach,” and “Speaker about Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization.”
Recently, an email greeted me:
“I got to your link through Person ABC and sure enough, your headline, The Chief Storyteller®, caught my attention. I work for XYZ on a superb project. I think we don’t always do a great job of getting our message out or placed. Would love to talk to you about your work and our situation.”
We had coffee and today they are an active client.
Connect to Your Content
Take advantage of new eyeballs visiting your profile. View your profile as part information and part advertisement. Together, they should clearly demonstrate how valuable your products and your services will be to your target audiences. Greet them with a content-rich profile that brings you and your organization to life. Show the visitor you are a recognized expert or thought leader with the great content you have written and presented. LinkedIn wants you to show off your expertise. Examples include LinkedIn Articles and LinkedIn Updates. You can include video links and attachments, including links to SlideShare, which LinkedIn owns.
Instantly Expand with Groups
Do you know how to increase your reach by a factor 10 to 100? Join groups! There are seven categories such as alumni, corporate, and professional. Join groups that your ideal audiences (e.g., members, sponsors, donors, customers, partners, vendors, thought leaders, and industry leaders) join. You can also join personal and educational groups such as alumni associations, hobbies, organizations (e.g., Hubspot and Harvard Business Review), and subject areas such as journalism, blogging, executives, and associations.
Since the members are mostly two degrees away, be deliberate in how you connect, both passively and actively. Passively, write interesting articles with the expectation people will contact you. Actively, initiate discussions or send invitations. With your invitation, it is especially important to personalize your request and explain how connecting benefits the person.
Not sure what groups to join? Look at the profiles of everyone in your network and review their group list. Or search the database with keywords to locate groups right for you. Here’s the post from LinkedIn on finding groups.
The Magic is in Turning Second-Degree Connections into First-Degree Relationships
Just like live networking, online networking takes patience and perseverance. To expand your LinkedIn network, online networking must be an active part of your schedule. Passively, you are offering content with engaging blog entries, educational presentations, and a compelling profile. Actively, you are requesting introductions, adding professionals to your network, and elevating your status as an expert in your field by answering questions and submitting articles.
Is your LinkedIn network expanding? Are existing connections introducing you to people bridges and ideal audiences? Used well, LinkedIn will become a valuable tool in your personal and your organization’s toolbox.
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Updated Content 2012, Updated header photograph 2019
Photography Source: Freepik | Design © Copyright 2012, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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